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NBA Playoffs 2024: Pacers cruise past Knicks, send series to Game 7

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Pascal Siakam recorded 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists and the Indiana Pacers forced a Game 7 with a stellar 116-103 victory over the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference second-round series on Friday in Indianapolis.

Myles Turner added 17 points and eight rebounds for the sixth-seeded Pacers. Tyrese Haliburton had 15 points and nine assists, Andrew Nembhard added 15 points, six rebounds and six assists and T.J. McConnell also put up 15 for Indiana.

“That’s the makeup of our team,” Siakam said. “We just share the basketball. Anybody is dangerous out there on the floor. We need our bench. T.J. and all those guys coming in, they bring us so much energy and we’re going to need that in Game 7 for sure.”

Jalen Brunson scored 26 of his 31 points in the second half for the second-seeded Knicks. Miles McBride scored 20 points, Donte DiVincenzo added 17 and Precious Achiuwa had 12 points and eight rebounds.

Game 7 is Sunday afternoon in New York. The home team has won all six games of the series.

“Now it’s a one-game series,” Haliburton said. “It’s for all the marbles. Where else better to have a Game 7 than (Madison Square Garden)? No team has won a game on the road in this series. We’ve got to be ready to go.”

The Pacers led by as many as 23 points in Game 6 after the series featured consecutive blowouts. Indiana won 121-89 in Game 4 before New York rolled to a 121-91 victory in Game 5.

READ | NBA Playoffs 2024: Knicks bounce back to crush Pacers, Jokic and Nuggets on a roll

“We played harder tonight, which was a must,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “We moved the ball better and we got more rebounds and that’s obviously a big key in this series.”

New York’s Josh Hart had five points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes on Friday while laboring through a left abdominal injury. He exited with 9:53 left in the game, and the Knicks ruled him out for the remainder of the game a short time later.

“This is the nature of the playoffs,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said of the team’s latest injury. “This is what you play for. You love competition. This is it. … You’re going to get tested — physically, mentally, emotionally. You have to be able to get through that. So whatever it is that we’re facing, we can overcome. Just keep battling.”

Obi Toppin added 11 points for Indiana, which shot 53.8 percent from the field, including 9 of 26 (34.6 percent) from 3-point range. The Pacers held a 47-35 rebounding edge.

The Knicks made 43.9 percent of their field-goal attempts and were 13 of 34 (38.2 percent) from behind the arc.

The Pacers used a 10-2 run early in the second half to begin to pull away. Turner capped it with a dunk to give the hosts a 71-58 advantage with 8:56 left in the period.

Indiana tacked on a 9-1 run later in the quarter with McConnell’s three-point play making it 84-66 with 2:39 left.

Brunson’s 3-pointer with 14.3 seconds to go gave him 14 points in the stanza and also pulled New York within 88-75 entering the fourth quarter.

“They have been doing a great job all series of making adjustments,” Brunson said. “I have to make some adjustments too. It was a mixture of me missing shots and not playing very well.”

The Pacers opened the final period with a 14-4 run. Nembhard’s 3-pointer pushed the lead to 99-79 with 8:24 remaining, and Ben Sheppard hit a trey 32 seconds later to increase the margin to 23. Indiana cruised the rest of the way.

“Listen, in a series like this, you can’t sit around patting yourself on the back,” Carlisle said. “That’s what gets your (expletive) kicked in the next game. We’re going to keep our celebrations very short, if at all, and get ready for Sunday afternoon.”

Siakam scored 15 first-half points as the Pacers led 61-51 at the break. DiVincenzo and McBride scored 15 apiece in the half for New York.

Brunson missed his final 11 first-half shots and had five points on 2-of-13 shooting in the half.

“They try to make things difficult so I have to adjust as well,” Brunson said. “They showed me different looks and I have to do a better job of reading them. I can’t be what I was for the first 40 minutes of the game.”

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